Optimising Heat: Understanding Cooking Temperatures
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It requires a lot of effort to cook your food safely without burning it or getting yourself burnt. Temperature and heat management is probably the first thing that everyone is taught before they learn to cook. It is not just important for your safety but also the safety of those around you. Also, temperature management is very important to achieve superior-tasting food and avoid any kind of wastage.

One of the most important guidelines to consider while cooking and storing your food is that hot food must be kept hot and cold food must always be kept cold. There are a variety of temperature zones that are referred to in cooking and storing food as well. By referring to these simple temperatureguidelines, you can easily store your food effectively and avoid getting into the danger zone.

How To Cook Food Safely

Let us dive deeper into the different temperature levels that are appropriate for cooking different types of food. Now you must understand that all food types are not the same. Some food ingredients get cooked at lower temperatures, whereas others need a higher temperature range to be edible. The danger zone for cooking is anywhere between 40°F to 140°F. The likelihood of bacteria multiplying in this temperature range is a lot higher. This is why it is not recommended to keep your food at room temperature for more than two hours especially if the room temperature is near 90°F. 

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While cooking raw meat or poultry products, it is very important to check the internal temperature of the meat as well. The internal temperature of the meat depends on the variety and also the sourcing point. Most meat and poultry need to reach a temperature of at least 325°F to be cooked safely. If you want to be very precise with the temperature, then we recommend you to buy a meat thermometer, especially if you cook meat very frequently in your house. 145°F is the safest temperature to cook the most variety of meats. But this also depends on the way that you like eating your meat. Some people like to cook their meat properly whereas others like it medium cooked. This is a matter of preference but you should always remember about the safety concerns.

Food Storage

When it comes to storing food, food stored at 0°F in the freezer is always safe for consumption upon reheating. The cold temperature prevents the growth of bacteria and slowers the molecule production. It is very important to practise one or the other kind of thawing technique to prevent your food from going bad.

Many people do not like the idea of believing that food can attract bacteria even if it is cooked at the right temperature. But it is very much possible for food to attract bacteria, especially if it is stored at room temperature. Another tip to store food in the refrigerator is to put it in shallow containers as they facilitate better refrigeration of food. 

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While reheating your leftovers, properly, heat your food until it reaches an internal temperature of 165°F. If you are using a microwave, then keep your food covered and rotate it again and again in the process of heating. For people who buy a lot of frozen and packaged items, it is always very important to check the recommended reheating time to ensure that food is cooked properly. If your food is not reheated properly then the chances of your food carrying bacteria is always quite high. By achieving the desired temperature when reheating, you can always ensure that your food is free from any unwanted illness.

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Cooking Temperature Tally

For your reference, here is the recommended cooking temperature that you can use while making various recipes at home. This is a chart that can always come in handy. While you do not have to follow it adamantly, this can always be a good reference in case you have any confusion.

* Ground Meat - 160°F

* Raw Meat- 160°F

* Poultry- 165°F

* Fish- 145°F

* Raw Ham- 160°F

You can follow the above temperature guidelines to cook food at your home. To have a more appropriate idea of the temperature you can buy a digital thermometer to check the temperature of your food. Digital instant-read thermometers have much faster responses and can also show accurate temperatures.

We hope that you have been able to understand the importance of temperature in storing and cooking food. Not only using the right temperature enhances the taste of the food but also it helps in preventing any bacterial growth in your food.